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Summer Update

08/19/2013

I’ve been fairly busy this Summer.  Too busy to post until now.  But I’ve been out looking for more birds for my challenge and seeing some other parts of the state.  I even flew out to Detroit and drove a new-to-us car home.  Unfortunately, I haven’t seen anything too exciting.  I still have 23 birds to go and I don’t think that I’m going to do it.  There are some southern part of the state birds that I think that I’ve missed.
However, I’ve managed to see some neat birds and I’ll apologize now for the photo dump.

I took my kids to hike the volcanoes that are on the west mesa.  My daughter has been very interested in volcanoes lately and lucky for us we live to lots of old volcanoes.

My daughter at the top of one of our volcanoes.

My daughter at the top of one of our volcanoes.

Collared Lizard, Petroglyph NM, ABQ

Collared Lizard, Petroglyph NM, ABQ

I’ve been back to Valle de Oro NWR, aka Price’s dairy, a few times.  Hopefully they get lots of action during migration.  They are hoping to get lots of Sandhill Cranes to visit.

Western Meadowlark, Valle de Oro NWR, ABQ NM

Western Meadowlark, Valle de Oro NWR, ABQ NM

Common Nighthawk, Valle de Oro NWR, ABQ NM

Common Nighthawk, Valle de Oro NWR, ABQ NM

Lark Sparrow, Valle de Oro NWR, ABQ NM

Lark Sparrow, Valle de Oro NWR, ABQ NM

Swainson's Hawk, Valle de Oro NWR, ABQ NM

Swainson’s Hawk, Valle de Oro NWR, ABQ NM

Last year I got to see some lifer Mississippi Kites in Corrales.  I got word that they were back again this year at the same location and I got to see 4 of them flying around the Cottonwoods.

Mississippi Kite, Corrales NM

Mississippi Kite, Corrales NM

Mississippi Kite, Corrales NM

Mississippi Kite, Corrales NM

A couple of Saturdays ago I got made big plans to head down to Socorro to Water Canyon and Bosque del Apache.  According to EBird I should have seen 10 or more new birds, and lots of challenge birds.  But as it turned out, I had a pretty mediocre day bird-wise.  I did get to drive up an amazing road to the top of a mountain and see a couple of cool observatories.  The only new bird that I picked up was a Pygmy Nuthatch.  But I needed that for my challenge.  I also saw a rare version of a Dark-Eyed Junco.

Lousy weather to start birding, Water Canyon, Socorro NM

Lousy weather to start birding, Water Canyon, Socorro NM

Red-Backed version of Dark-Eyed Junco, Water Canyon, Socorro NM

Red-Backed version of Dark-Eyed Junco, Water Canyon, Socorro NM

Magdalena Ridge Observatory, Water Canyon, Socorro NM

Magdalena Ridge Observatory, Water Canyon, Socorro NM

VLA from the top of South Baldy Peak, Water Canyon, Socorro NM

VLA from the top of South Baldy Peak, Water Canyon, Socorro NM

I made my way to Bosque del Apache in the hopes of different luck.  But as it turned out, I dipped on everything that I wanted to see.  But there were lots of Blue Grosbeaks, which are always nice to see.

Immature Great Blue Heron, Bosque del Apache NWR

Immature Great Blue Heron, Bosque del Apache NWR

Turkeys, Bosque del Apache NWR

Turkeys, Bosque del Apache NWR

Blue Grosbeak, Bosque del Apache NWR

Blue Grosbeak, Bosque del Apache NWR

On the way home I decided to stop at Belen.  More for lousy burritos than for birds.  But I ended up seeing a very impressive sight.  Hundreds of egrets and some other usual birds.

Belen (aka Taco Bell) Marsh, Belen NM

Egrets and Phalaropes, Belen (aka Taco Bell) Marsh, Belen NM

Ruddy Ducks, Belen (aka Taco Bell) Marsh, Belen NM

Ruddy Ducks, Belen (aka Taco Bell) Marsh, Belen NM

Snowy and Cattle Egrets, Belen (aka Taco Bell) Marsh, Belen NM

Snowy and Cattle Egrets, Belen (aka Taco Bell) Marsh, Belen NM

Wilson's Phalaropes, Belen (aka Taco Bell) Marsh, Belen NM

Wilson’s Phalaropes, Belen (aka Taco Bell) Marsh, Belen NM

More recently I’ve been to Tramway Wetlands in Northern Albuquerque.  There’s been quite a variety of shorebirds visiting the really gross waters there.

Wilson's Phalarope, Tramway Wetlands, ABQ NM

Wilson’s Phalarope, Tramway Wetlands, ABQ NM

Lesser Yellowlegse, Tramway Wetlands, ABQ NM

Lesser Yellowlegs, Tramway Wetlands, ABQ NM

Solitary Sandpipere, Tramway Wetlands, ABQ NM

Solitary Sandpiper, Tramway Wetlands, ABQ NM

Spotted Sandpipere, Tramway Wetlands, ABQ NM

Spotted Sandpiper, Tramway Wetlands, ABQ NM

As a birthday present, I got to go on a Thursday birder trip to the East Mountains. The focus on the trip was to see Hummingbirds, and wow did I see some hummingbirds.

Rufous Hummingbird, East Mountains NM

Rufous Hummingbird, East Mountains NM

Rufous and Black-Chinned Hummingbirds, East Mountains NM

Rufous and Black-Chinned Hummingbirds, East Mountains NM

Calliope Hummingbird, East Mountains NM

Calliope Hummingbird, East Mountains NM

Female Hummingbird, East Mountains NM

Female Hummingbird, East Mountains NM

I also managed to see some Pinyon Jays, but only managed this photo.

Pinyon Jay, East Mountains NM

Pinyon Jay, East Mountains NM

Western Scrub Jay, East Mountains NM

Western Scrub Jay, East Mountains NM

Juniper Titmouse, East Mountains NM

Juniper Titmouse, East Mountains NM

And on my way home from the trip I stopped by Tingley Ponds, which were very empty.

Black Phoebe, Tingley Ponds, ABQ NM

Black Phoebe, Tingley Ponds, ABQ NM

Dragonfly (Blue Skimmer), Tingley Ponds, ABQ NM

Dragonfly (Blue Skimmer), Tingley Ponds, ABQ NM

I’ve found another Owl Burrow on the Westside.  This one is right behind my house, maybe 300 yards away from where I’m typing this.  I’ve always seen 1 owl sitting on a flood control wall.  But I finally walked over and got to see 5 owls.  It looked like 4 Immatures and an adult.  Here’s one of the younger ones.

Burrowing Owl, Rio Rancho NM

Burrowing Owl, Rio Rancho NM

And I also saw a Jackrabbit running away from me.

Jackrabbit, Rio Rancho NM

Jackrabbit, Rio Rancho NM

Yesterday I went on the bird walk at the Rio Grande Nature Center.  But on the way I passed a dead Cooper’s Hawk on the side of the road.  I stopped to check it out and it looked like one of this year’s birds.  But at the nature center I would have a better encounter with one.  Rio Grande Bird Research was there doing banding.  Their mist nets are set up during migration and they always take the time to show those of us on the walk what they have caught if anything.  It’s always neat to see some small song-bird up close.
Yesterday we were walking around the north part of the nature center and spotted a Cooper’s Hawk flying around the fields and through the trees.  Just a minute later I noticed that a Cooper’s Hawk was caught in one of the mist nets.  I ran down to where they band and told them.  They excitedly ran down to free the young hawk.

Cooper's Hawk caught in a mist net, Rio Grande Nature Center, ABQ NM

Cooper’s Hawk caught in a mist net, Rio Grande Nature Center, ABQ NM

And here it is just prior to be released.

Cooper's Hawk, Rio Grande Nature Center, ABQ NM

Cooper’s Hawk, Rio Grande Nature Center, ABQ NM

They also had a MacGillivray’s Warbler and a Bewick’s Wren which they brought out to show us.  I had the pleasure to release the Wren, it was nice to feel how soft and light it was.

MacGillivray's Warbler, Rio Grande Nature Center, ABQ NM

MacGillivray’s Warbler, Rio Grande Nature Center, ABQ NM

Bewick's Wren, Rio Grande Nature Center, ABQ NM

Bewick’s Wren, Rio Grande Nature Center, ABQ NM

But to backtrack a second, the very first bird that we saw at the start of the walk was a lifer for me, and also one that I needed for the challenge.  A female Bullock’s Oriole was in a tree next to the pond blind.  As a matter of fact, there were 2 of them.

Bullock's Oriole, Rio Grande Nature Center, ABQ NM

Bullock’s Oriole, Rio Grande Nature Center, ABQ NM

And this young Snowy Owl was in the observation pond trying to figure out what turtles were all about.

Snowy Owl and turtles, Rio Grande Nature Center, ABQ NM

Snowy Egret and turtles, Rio Grande Nature Center, ABQ NM

After the Nature Center I drove out to the foothills to try and see some wrens that I needed and maybe a Scott’s Oriole.  But I hiked up 2 different trails and didn’t see anything new.  But I did see some Virginia’s and Yellow Warblers flitting around the trees.

MacGillivray's Warbler, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

Virginia’s Warbler, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

And this Ladder-Backed Woodpecker was at one of the parking lots.  But no Cactus or Canyon Wren, or Scott’s Oriole for me.

Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, Bear Canyon Trailhead,  ABQ NM

Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, Bear Canyon Trailhead, ABQ NM

That’s basically it.  I’m going to the local scooter rally this coming weekend.  It’s in the mountains, so there’s a chance that I can see some birds in between the rides and beer drinking.

Cheers.

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4 Comments
  1. Nice post..lot’s of new birds. I think that last picture of MacGillivray’s Warbler is a Virginia’s Warbler though. Nice pictures throughout…always enjoy.

    • steve permalink

      Thanks! I guess I had MacGillivray’s on the brain after seeing one at the Nature Center. But the eye rings are very different I see.

  2. Good pictures, Steve. Surely we can get you that Cactus Wren and probably the Canyon Wren in Embudito; Cactus Wrens were back when I stopped by a week or so ago.

  3. Keith Barker permalink

    I believe the photo labelled Bewick’s Wren is actually a Warbling Vireo

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